Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ TTI Vanguard Conference Notes - 2

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Oct 05, 2010

Ted Rybeck, Benchmarking Partners
Member-Oriented Management Systems

Story about a program to revive industry in a dying town in the Ohio River valley. I was a 'Watson Fellow' studying how dying companies turned themselves around. Built Walmart's employee collaboration management system. The system was shared with other vendors, eg., Home Depot, in order to help vendors be efficient across the board (and therefore, with WalMart).

There was a transition from CIO-oriented management systems to CEO-oriented management systems to customer-oriented management systems. The problem is, if there's defective plastic in a toy, the source of the problem is not the vendor, but a supplier way down in the chain. This demonstrates the need for a knowledge-based content management system.

How could we do free, trusted, ubiquitous, very wide and very deep, that changed processes for everyone in the ecosystem. We spent a billion dollars on this, so it has to actually change processes.

Some questions about WalMart - people don't find it a pleasant and rewarding shopping experience, people do not fill out the little warranty cards. But WalMart is changing - and has said they will now source produce from local grown organics - because customers say they want that. (SD - that simply means that's another group they'll drive into poverty).

Haiti - after the earthquake, the government didn't deliver but private enterprie did. One has the sense that in the U.S. and Canada people would be waiting for the government to deliver. But in Haiti they helped themselves. (SD - OMFG - Haiti touted as a success story?)

(Segue into editing wikipedia, view history, reverting)

If each of us are members as individuals, then what would that architecture look like? If it doesn't have some free base, it won't have the level of innovation anf contribution it needs.

Example (it's just an amalgamation of a bunch of social media stuff on Oreos) from but you have to have a login ID to view it - and this is a login from Dossia Electronic Health Records -  (SD - annoying)

Some discussion on why the intelligence community can't use Wikipedia.

More examples from worldlinkedwikis - 'neighbour to neighbour exachange'.

(Question on whether there's a de facto set of standard web sites or services that you would go to? For the bombings, the intelligence people thought the best site was Wikipedia.)

What we've done is gone from a Yahoo world where we build a directory to Google coming along with a secret algorithm to a billion people who input things with understanding that can do things an algorithm can't.

Susan Bonds, 42 Entertainment
Personal and Global: How Deep Media Has Transformed the Power of Storytelling and Entertainment

- Boundaries - the boundaries of entertainment have been erased; blending stories and gameplay
- Expectations
- Consumption
- Participation

An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive experience that immerses audience in a story via the content platforms that intersect their daily lives
- what's neat is that they create 'evidence' that the story actually happened and plant it IRL (in real life)

Key ingredients of ingagement in an ARG:
- hide in plain site ('look', 'whisper', 'discovery')
- evokes collective intelligence
- unique storytelling - distributed narrative
- unusual platforms - cross-media, 'the world'
- inspires participation and 'respects the audience'

Eg. 'Year Zero' - a record that began as an experiment with noise in a laptop on a bus. Then, a hidden message in a Nine Inch nails concert t-shirt. Then an iconography to indicate that some content had been sent 'back in time'. Then the mystery of 'parepin'. The fans quickly discovered where there were more sites to be found. Then, leaks of the music - putting the very first single on thumb drives left around the concept venue. Apparently 90 perecent of the world will pick up thumb drives and put them in their computer. And the song immediately propagated.

(It's touching something inside the people who are involved in this - but - it also expands that audience - eg. the core audience is 900K or so, but this expanded it something like 10 times - yes but this isn't going to work with something like, say, toothpaste - but this transcended the music, and became something like a social activation. Eg. the Art Is Resistance site. You have a voice, you can speak up. Etc. And people began to mimic the idea of "--- is resistance" sites. All these economies kind of happened within the community.

Anthony Shelton, UBC Museum of Anthrpology
Museum Futures

The major part of a recent $55 million project at the university was to build a research infrastructure. Not just rooms at the university, but also a digital research infrastructure, to bring together different segments of the population, dispersed geographically, to share research interests.

Jim Clifford 20 years ago wrote about new types of museums that are beginning to emerge. The idea is that there is an engagement between the museum community and visitors. So we are not doing this research in various different areas, including the use of IT, museology, and copyright.

So what are the implications of new technologies for museums? People used to say they would close down, but the reality is more complex:

1. The relation between tangible and intangible cultural object. The museum deals in historical artifacts. There has been an increasing pressure to take management of any form of intangible cultural propertty, including eg. dance performances, etc. So museums were selected to take charge of this. Museums came up with the idea that these could be collected and retained by being recorded. But what we're wondering now what the relationship is between the intangible cultural heritage and the material artifact. I think we are creating a new third term of culture, because you need to make a bunch of decisions (eg. angles) in the recording. (And this brings up the question of who curates that).

2. The relationship thetween three different areas of knowledge at least. The second area is the shift from a --- museum to a (motor?) museum. Traditionally museums have seen themselves as encyclopedic. Smaller museums have seen themselves as being a smaller part of tat encyclopedic picture. But recently museums have been working more with communities - we've been showing material in the collection, asking for their interpretation, and how they want it to be shown.

3. There has been a shift in the soft sciences, which were originally presented as universal, toward a representation as relativist. This gives us a new type of universalism, which is based in the creation of digital types of knowledge.  The idea is that we would come up with a software system that would allow searches across the different collection management services that different institutions use. We needed to put in various protocols to accommodate this search system.

4. It creates a crisis of authority. It provides a kind of feedback of what you are doing. The authority that used to be the privilege of curators is now open for comment, and this will modify the kind of content that is displayed. In Canada we define ourselves as a multicultural country, and that means we look at different cultural universes in a society, and now we ask, "where is the consensus," because there used to be a consensus. In a way this has produced a new insularity - "you can't understand this culture unless you have lived in it." And that just creates enclaves, solitudes. (Perhaps you could have stories involving artifacts that could blend...)

In the 1970s and the 1980s, with the decline of heavy industry, we talked about the museumification of society, making museums out of industrial enterprises. Today, we've moved to the idea of the societization of museums themselves; they are being incorporated as essential institutions within society. (Comment on the parallels between libraries and museums - in libraries the number of visits has gone up because of the expansion of the number of people who want to participate in the experience).

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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